Opinions

The Middle District of Georgia offers opinions in PDF format, listed by year and judge. For a more detailed search, enter the keyword or case number in the search box above.

Please note: These opinions are not a complete inventory of all judges' decisions and are not documents of record. Official court records are available at the clerk's office.

The Chapter 11 debtor's board of directors voted to terminate a severance benefit plan some five days prior to filing for bankruptcy relief. Certain former employees of the debtor filed proofs of claim for severance pay. The employees contended that the severance plan's termination was not effective because a "change in control" of debtor had occurred. The employees also contended that the board of directors was not acting in good faith in terminating the severance plan. The Court held that the board of directors' vote to terminate the severance plan was effective.

The IRS argued that the debtor's proposed Chapter 11 plan was not feasible. The debtor proposed to sell his primary asset, a 6,708 acre tract of land, and use the proceeds to pay the costs of the sale, the secured claims, and the administrative claims. The debtor proposed to pay the IRS's priority tax claim of some $9 million by making semi-annual payments over a term of ten years. The proceeds from the sale would not be sufficient to satisfy the priority tax claim. The court determined that the debtor would not be able to perform the obligations called for in his proposed Chapter 11 plan. The court sustained the IRS's objection to confirmation.

Prior to filing for relief, the debtor advised the creditor that she was rescinding her mortgage obligation pursuant to the Truth-in-Lending Act. The creditor filed an adversary proceeding to confirm the validity and extent of its lien and to determine that the debtor's obligation for her "wrongful purported rescission" was nondischargeable in bankruptcy. The debtor moved to dismiss the adversary proceeding, contending that it was a non-core proceeding. The court noted that the trustee had not abandoned the real property and that the debtor's bankruptcy case had not been closed. The court noted that the trustee may have a valuable asset to administer if the creditor's lien is subject to rescission. The court held that the adversary proceeding was a core proceeding and denied the debtor's motion to dismiss.

The Chapter 11 debtor proposed a plan of liquidation. The debtor proposed to pay his creditors by selling his primary asset, a 6,708 acre tract of land. A secured creditor argued that the debtor proposed an unreasonable length of time to market the land. The Court held that the creditor 's claim was fully secured and thus adequately protected. The Court held that six to twelve months was needed to market the land and close the sale.

The debtor owned a video tape rental store. The creditor was a distributor that provided tapes to the debtor. The creditor retained ownership of the tapes. The debtor had financial problems and stopped sending the creditor its portion of the proceeds from the tape rentals. The creditor demanded the return of its tapes. The debtor sold the tapes to a third party and closed his store. The Court held that the debtor had converted the creditor's tapes. The Court held that the debtor's obligation was a nondischargeable willful and malicious injury under 11 U.S.C.A. § 523 (a)(6).

Debtor sought injunction of state criminal proceeding on grounds it was a subterfuge to collect debt. Court granted summary judgment to defendants because plaintiff failed to establish, pursuant to Younger doctrine, that the criminal case presented a threat of great an immediate injury or that an injunction was necessary to preserve to a federally protected right.

A woman who purchased a car from debtor sought to have debtor’s case dismissed for bad faith. The woman claimed debtor forged her name on a contract relating to the vehicle. Because the preponderance of the evidence favored the debtor, the case was not dismissed.

The Court rejected Georgia’s assertion of sovereign immunity in a dischargeability proceeding on the basis that states surrendered their sovereign immunity with respect to bankruptcy when they ratified the Constitution.

Judge John T. Laney, III

The Court held a hearing on the Application for Interim and Final Compensation for the Responsible Person of SGE Mortgage Funding Corp. and Attorneys for SGE Mortgage Funding Corp. ("Movants") and the objection to the application by the Committee of Investors Holding Unsecured Claims ("Respondent"). Respondent challenged Movants request for compensation on numerous grounds including incompetence and mismanagement. Under relevant case law, once a prima facia case is made by an applicant, any objection must be substantiated by evidence showing that the applicant requested an unreasonable amount. The Court held that Respondent did not meet its burden and approved Movants’ application for interim and final compensation.

Ruling on the United States Trustee’s Motion to Dismiss Case or to Transfer Venue, the Court held under Connecticut National Bank v. Germain, 503 U.S. 249 (1992), the Court has no discretion to retain a case which was filed in the wrong venue. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1406, in the interests of justice, the Court ordered the case transferred to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

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